An-Nisa · Juz 4 · Qur'an Tafseer

Warning Against Transgressing the Limits for Inheritance

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

Tafseer Surah An-Nisa Ayaat 13 – 14

You will notice in the Qur’an, whenever some commands are mentioned they are followed by promises of rewards or warnings. In the following ayaat we notice the same pattern – this has been done to emphasize the importance of distributing inheritance as ordained by Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,

Ibn Katheer explains the fara’id are Allah’s set limits. This includes all that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has allotted for the heirs, according to the degree of relation they have to the deceased and their degree of dependency on him. Therefore, do not transgress or violate them. So Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala said, “Whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger…” regarding the inheritance and does not add or decrease any of these fixed shares by treachery or evil plotting. Rather, he gives each his appointed share as Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala commanded, ordained and decided, “…will be admitted by Him to gardens under which rivers flow…” where he will live forever and that is the ultimate success.

On the contrary, he who does not follow the commands of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala – does not divide the shares as ordained by Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala or misuses deceased’s property, he will put into the Fire where he will live forever. It will be a humiliating punishment.

This is because he changed what Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has ordained and disputed with His judgment. Indeed, this is the behavior of those who do not agree with what Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has decided and divided, and this is why He punishes them with humiliation in the eternal, painful torment.

Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Hurairah radhiAllahu ‘anhu said that the Messenger of Allah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said,

إِنَّ الرَّجُلَ لَيَعْمَلُ بِعَمَلِ أَهْلِ الْخَيْرِ سَبْعِينَ سَنَةً، فَإِذَا أَوْصَى حَافَ فِي وَصِيَّتِهِ، فَيُخْتَمُ لَهُ بِشَرِّ عَمَلِهِ، فَيَدْخُلُ النَّارَ، وَإِنَّ الرَّجُلَ لَيَعْمَلُ بِعَمَلِ أَهْلِ الشَّرِّ سَبْعِينَ سَنَةً، فَيَعْدِلُ فِي وَصِيَّتِهِ فَيُخْتَمُ لَهُ بِخَيْرِ عَمَلِهِ فَيَدْخُلُ الْجَنَّة

“A man might perform the actions of righteous people for seventy years, but when it is time to compile his will, he commits injustice. So, his final work will be his worst, and he thus enters the Fire. A man might perform the deeds of evil people for seventy years, yet he is fair in his will. So his final work will be his best, and he thus enters Paradise.”

  • One important lesson that we learn from this ayah is that one’s Hereafter is dependent on the right distribution of inheritance. It means all the commands mentioned in the ayaat of inheritance and those mentioned in the Law of Inheritance must be followed.

  • As mentioned earlier, Law of Inheritance is a science – one must learn it to benefit his own family and the society. If one cannot study it then one must consult a Mufti or a scholar who has the understanding of the law and is qualified to distribute inheritance as Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala

  • It is important to remember one cannot divide inheritance as per their own choice – the shares have been assigned by Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. And we must accept them as they are. Inheritance is a form of wealth that we are receiving without any effort on our part, therefore we must be content with what we receive and be grateful to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. We should not complain about how little we are receiving and how much others are getting. Give sadaqah from your portion as a form of gratitude.

DOWNLOAD PDF: Tafseer Surah An-Nisa Ayaat 13 – 14

رَبَّنَا تَقَبَّلْ مِنَّا ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيم  
“Our Lord, accept [this] from us. Indeed You are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.”
[Al-Baqarah 2: 127]

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